Impact of cord blood banking technologies on clinical outcome: a Eurocord/Cord Blood Committee (CTIWP), European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation and NetCord retrospective analysis

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Techniques for banking cord blood units (CBUs) as source for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation have been developed over the past 20 years, aimed to improve laboratory efficiency without altering the biologic properties of the graft. A large-scale, registry-based assessment of the impact of the banking variables on the clinical outcome is currently missing.


A total of 677 single cord blood transplants (CBTs) carried out for acute leukemia in complete remission in centers affiliated with the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation were selected. An extensive set of data concerning CBU banking were collected and correlations with clinical outcome were assessed. Clinical endpoints were transplant-related mortality, engraftment, and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD).


The median time between collection and CBT was 4.1 years (range, 0.2-16.3 years). Volume reduction (VR) of CBUs before freezing was performed in 59.2% of available reports; in half of these the frozen volume was less than 30 mL. Cumulative incidences of neutrophil engraftment on Day 60, 100-day acute GVHD (II-IV), and 4-year chronic GVHD were 87, 29, and 21 ± 2%. The cumulative incidence of nonrelapse mortality (NRM) at 100 days and 4-year NRM were, respectively, 16 ± 2 and 30 ± 2%. Neither the variables related to banking procedures nor the interval between collection and CBT influenced the clinical outcome.


These findings indicate a satisfactory validation of the techniques associated with CBU VR across the banks. Cell viability assessment varied among the banks, suggesting that efforts to improve the standardization of CBU quality controls are needed.

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